Cultural tourism takes plenty of malodorous forms, but there’s a mild difference between drunken co-eds wearing Native American headdresses at music festivals and what’s been found at a Bronx bus company advertising “a ride through a real New York City ‘GHETTO’” which just turns out to be… the Bronx. The New York Post has a galling account of going on a tour with Real Bronx Tours, which shepherded a bus full of “mainly white Europeans and Australians” through some of the Bronx’s less immediately photogenic spots such as a food pantry line, while dropping insensitive narration intended to other for the audience delight.
This quote was a particular lowlight—“I might encourage you to walk with a New Yorker, not because you’re going to get shot, just because sometimes people take advantage if they know you’re a tourist, either charge you too much or maybe someone would pick your pocket”—but the whole trip is fairly appalling, because it’s 2013 and yet there are people treating an entire borough like it’s a novelty to gawk at from behind a safe space. There’s already a stereotype of New York City as glamorous Manhattan and artisinal Brooklyn only, with less attention paid to Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island—and with stuff like this, it’s easy to see why. See all the poors congregating to be fed! Joke about all the murders that used to happen 30 years ago! This and more for the low, low price of your empathy and/or common sense. Come, let us shame this shitty business into change or fiscal insolvency.
Last Friday, the Internet went ablaze over rumors that Beyoncé was pregnant with her second child, destined to be named Red Vine (the opposite of Blue Ivy, ha ha), Champagne, Bugatti, etc., because of course celebrities are ridiculous people who can’t be trusted with any level of popularity. But those rumors are apparently false, as would-be father Jay-Z confirmed to Hot 97 in an email interaction.
It wasn’t exactly an official repudiation—”I emailed a guy at the radio” being one of the least emphatic denials available to the most powerful couple the entertainment—but considering the second pregnancy was never officially announced, it’s all we have to go on until Bey or Jay pop out again to say “jk, she’s pregnant and we were just denying it because holy shit are you guys some baby obsessed vultures.” But the baby! Maybe it could be a boy? A little sister for Blue Ivy to learn responsibility from? Gosh, how exciting. Speculate and speculate some more, especially when wondering if Beyoncé’s world tour was just an elaborate, multi-million dollar scheme to disguise the rumors… except probably not, because that would be financially ruinous and just a real rude move if she had to cancel because it isn’t so easy to do the “Single Ladies” dance when you’re carrying. But hey, celebrities; you never know.
You love using your Tumblr blog because you are a Real Live Youth™, bred on the Internet with no substitute. Because RLYs are a demographic in inelastic demand, media conglomerate Yahoo has reportedly begun discussions about acquiring Tumblr for an almost unthinkable price of $1 billion in order to improve their dwindling status amongst the Internet relevancy ranks. That seems like an incredible amount of cash to burn on a website that’s mostly used for Game of Thrones GIFs, James Deen, and weird James of Bones porn mashups. But remember that $1 billion was paid for Instagram, a price which seems… actually still kind of ridiculous for a photo filter service.
But I am not a Tech Guy and thus do not know the proper metaphysical valuation for any Tech Thing. According to those early reports, cherubic overlord David Karp would stay on as the company’s CEO while Yahoo would bring in their more business-minded team to ensure that their purchase doesn’t become an un-monetizable dot com albatross. Can you think of even five ways for Tumblr to make money at face value besides the increased proliferation of sponsored animated GIFs promoting The Great Gatsby or whatever? I cannot. But again, I am not a Tech Guy, and surely there’s some algorithmic mojo Yahoo could splice into its own DNA to save it from the slow death it’s been staving off ever since the failure to acquire Facebook. Maybe every corporation gets more than one chance to reach the RLYs. I can’t wait to participate in an E-book oral history of pre-Yahoo Tumblr.
I live in a ditch dug with my bare hands and thieve wi-fi from the local library, so I wasn’t aware that Kanye West was playing on Saturday Night Live just a few days after going on a rant about how he wasn’t a celebrity and how he refused to play nice for the camera. I thought he was speaking hypothetically, you know? But ‘ye is playing SNL during this weekend’s season finale, which is why we have these horribly awkward promo videos to giggle over in which Fred Armisen and host Ben Affleck attempt to promote the episode even though it’s clearly West couldn’t give a shit. Yes, the script intentionally calls for things to be a little brittle—Armisen attempts to lay down a beat for West to rap over, only to be cut off—but Kanye’s dead-eyed stare and bland delivery make add a real element of #DGAF to the procedural ads. He livens it up a little bit in the final promo, but man, that second one. Lots of ennui brimming in that guy. The episode is on Saturday, doy.
Remember Kai, the adorably helpful hitchhiker who helped stop a potentially dangerous case of road rage by wielding a hatchet and coming to the rescue? Boy, did we meme the shit out of that guy. But it turns out the story may have an ending that’s not so appropriate for image macros: Kai, whose real name is Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, is wanted in conjunction with a New Jersey murder. According to ABC:
The victim, Joseph Galfy, was found inside his home on Starlite Drive on May 13, 2013 after officers received a call to check on his well-being.
An autopsy performed the following day determined that Galfy died as a result of blunt force trauma, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
Based on the investigation, authorities know that McGillvary has cut his hair in an attempt to alter his appearance.
He was last seen at a light rail station in Haddonfield, N.J. area, said Romankow. He is considered to be armed and dangerous.
Also of note: McGillvary goes by Kai Lawrence, Caleb Kai Lawrence and Kai Nicodemus. Also also of note: Holy shit, hatchet guy maybe killed a guy. Must all our Internet enjoyments let us down? Must all memes turn out to be real people capable of good and evil rather than frozen faces on our computer screens, re-captioned and re-blogged for all eternity? Such a disappointment. By “armed and dangerous” we must assume he’s carrying a hatchet, so beware.
How much porn exists on the Internet? Hard to say. Billions and billions of hours of homemade and professional fucking, spread along the Web in illicitly-formed constellations of seedy porn giants trying to horde as much of the market as they can without disclosing the evil things they surely do to maintain a profit margin. None of them are willing to say how much porn they’re responsible for hosting—only that there is a ton of it, responsible for millions of hits per month and traffic beyond what the most feverish newspaper editor could dream of.
There’s an interesting article at BuzzFeed which tries to get into the nitty gritty of all the smut that’s floating out there only to turn up… basically nothing. Only one site was willing to provide hard numbers: Freeones, a photo gallery repository of “adult models,” claims 445 million page views per month, which is pretty silly. But even that figure didn’t include how much content they were carrying, to say nothing of the dozens of other free and pay sites like Pornhub, RedTube, YouPorn, etc., any of which might take a full week of clicking the “next page” icon to get to the end. “I think it is safe to say there is no real idea on how big porn really is,” the managing director of Freeones told BuzzFeed. “It’s like when you read articles about the amount of money porn is generating on the internet. The big billing companies (CCBIll, Epoch to name two big adult ones) don’t publish their numbers, most companies are private companies so we can only guess about their income. The thing with numbers on the internet though is that 85% of them are made up. So no one truly knows.”
It’s like what they say about the amount of plastic that’s floating in the ocean: It could outsize Texas or Canada or something, I don’t know how much exactly, except with porn. A whole Canada’s worth of porn! Say a Hail Mary for society.
This can’t possibly be true, but here we go: Researchers at the University of Nebraska have authored a paper called “The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults,” which claims—wait for it—that smoking weed makes you skinnier, not fatter, which seems patently false to anyone who’s ever fallen into a combination kush & Cheeto coma. Polling amongst a national sample of over 4,600 adults, the surveyors found that small waists, higher “good cholesterol,” and lower insulin levels were reported amongst the 12% of whom self-identified as active pot users. (It didn’t matter how much they smoked, either, just that they did it regularly.)
As The Atlantic points out, one of the implications is that smoking weed might help the body regulate its blood sugar, which, ha ha ha, really? Isn’t eating a lot of sugar supposed to throw your system all out of wack, and haven’t you ever tasted a Twinkie on weed? It’s like biting into the sun. But perhaps those pot smokers eventually learn to regulate their own diets out of the self-awareness that the more garbage they continue to consume while whacked out, the fatter they’re getting—so that Skittles are replaced with gluten-free granola, Haagen-Dazs is replaced with lemon sorbet, soda is replaced with tea and so forth. Because nothing is scarier than looking at the nutritional value of a Honey Bun when you’re already worried you’re on the verge of having a heart attack, is there? Anyways, toke away; you’ll probably get fat as hell if you don’t, according to science.
We’re less than two weeks away from the reveal of Arrested Development season 4, aka the most recent excuse you need to hole up in your apartment for a day or two, powering through episodes as you shirk the modern world in favor of seeing just how crusted your lips can get. The most dedicated of you are preparing for the occasion by marathoning the first three seasons; the rest of us are lazier, and will favor sites like this one to get us back into the swing of things. Recurring Developments is a site that takes every recurring joke in Arrested Development and visualizes it along a nifty map so that you can see just how many times a joke was referenced, in which episode the reference came, and the continued evolution of the joke as the show went on. It’s astonishing how much was going on and how much was set up in advance; it’s enough to make even the laziest of watchers fire up the Netflix queue in order to catch everything. Season 4 premieres on May 26.
Have you ever contributed to a Kickstarter? Apart from some friends, I haven’t because many of them are so aggressively average: Dweebs raising thousands and thousands of dollars to fund their custom painted tarot cards, iPod watches, Amanda Palmer albums and so forth, over and over unto boring end. But here’s a product that blessedly wrenches us into the future by providing a service we didn’t even realize we needed: a way to track our brain waves, ripped straight from a Philip K. Dick novel. Melon is a headband that you wear when you’re doing anything that sends your brain signals via Bluetooth to an app that then organizes and collates your brain pattern so you figure out what moments you were at your most focused. The app then tells you what you can do to become even more focused, whether that’s listening to music or taking a deep breath—pretty basic advice, but hey, $100,000 can only buy you such specific observations. (There is also a mental origami folding game that I can’t even begin to parse, but you can watch the video for yourself.)
Yes, it seems a little gratuitous and singularity-driven and potentially way, way more complicated than the amount of money they’re asking for, but why not? Why not choose this forward-thinking product that might be kind of useless—what, are we supposed to look over at the app every 10 seconds, thereby breaking our concentration?—over those other everyday options? Besides, it looks pretty fashionable. Embrace the future today!
Yes, the Internet is basically a never-ending tour through The Worst Things, but this truly takes the Worst cake. While researching a book called Primates of Park Avenue, social anthropologist Dr. Wednesday Martin uncovered a practice that some wealthy Manhattan parents have developed in order to cut through the long lines at Disney World: hiring a handicapped tour guide to pose as a family member so they’re rushed to the top of the queue, rather than having to wait two and a half hours to go through Splash Mountain.
The tour guide, hired through a company called Dream Tours Florida, costs $130 an hour, or a little more than $1,000 for a full day. Apparently, knowledge of the service is spread through word of mouth, with the booking agent even asking callers who they were recommended by—an Ouroboros of privilege, wealth, crassness, and selfishness that’s beyond comically evil. I mean, look at this quote from one of the so-called mothers: “You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge. This is how the 1 percent does Disney.” How is that real! And yet it is, unless the New York Post is just fabricating the whole story—which no, of course not, the Post never does that. Pretty cool world where the Post making stuff up is the least crummy option.